Gesture as a Window Onto Conceptualization by Gale Stam (National Louis University)
According to McNeill (1992, 2005, 2012) gestures are as much a part of language as speech is. Together gesture and speech develop from a 'growth point' that has both imagistic and verbal aspects. This model for verbal thought is ""a 'language-imagery' or language-gesture dialectic"" in which thought, language, and gesture develop over time and influence each other (McNeill, 2005 p.25).
Research on both the perception of speech and gesture (Kelly, Kravitz & Hopkins, 2004) and the production of speech and gesture (Marstaller & Burianová, 2014) have shown that the same areas of the brain are involved in both. In addition, empirical research (e.g., Chase & Wittman, 2013; Goldin-Meadow, Wein, and Chang, 1992; Goldin-Meadow & Alibali, 1995; Iverson & Goldin-Meadow, 2005; McNeill & Duncan, 2000; Özçalışkan & Goldin-Meadow, 2005, 2009; Stam, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010b, 2014) on co-speech gestures indicates that gestures provide information about speakers' thinking and conceptualizations that speech alone does not. Research on the light gestures can shed on the second language acquisition process and second language teaching has been growing (for reviews, see Stam 2013; Stam & McCafferty 2008). One area in particular where gestures have been shown to provide an enhanced window onto the mind is that of motion events and thinking for speaking (Stam 2007). This talk will discuss how gestures allow us to see speakers' conceptualizations in first language and second language thinking for speaking. It will present evidence from several studies (Stam, 2010a, 2015 ;